Folks in Utah are rarely known to be “elbow benders” or “bar hoppers.” But evidently, come Christmas, those in the Beehive State who drink do more of it, according to cherrydigitalcontent.com.

A survey of 3,000 drinkers ages 21 and over by Addiction-Treatment.com, a leading provider of alcohol addiction rehabilitation resources, found that the average Utahn drinks for four days in a row over the holiday season, without having a day off.

Cherrydigital also concluded that Utah’s favorite drink for the holidays was not hot chocolate, but eggnog — with a kick.

“The idea of a milky, alcoholic drink with eggs in it dates back to a medieval British drink called 'posset,'” writes Elizabeth Dias for Time magazine. “By the 13th century, monks were known to drink a posset with eggs and figs. Milk, eggs and sherry were foods of the wealthy, so eggnog was often used in toasts to prosperity and good health.”

Those expensive ingredients made eggnog a drink of the wealthy in Britain, Dias writes, but in America it became more common — and became associated with rum. Coming from the Caribbean, she explains, rum wasn’t taxed as heavily as European spirits like brandy.

George Washington even got in on the action. His recipe suggests that the founding father had a strong stomach. He forgot to specify how many eggs should be used in it, Dias writes, but cooks of that time thought a dozen or so would be good. Washington’s recipe includes the usual ingredients — sugar, milk, cream, eggs — but adds one pint of brandy, half a pint of rye, half a pint of rum and a quarter pint of sherry to the mix.

“Today, this decadent holiday classic is made with heavy cream or milk, raw eggs, sugar, spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and/or vanilla, and light rum,” according to cherrydigital.

It appears Utahns love a classic; second on the drinking list was good ol’ whiskey. 

While a fun and possibly captivating bit of news, some residents might dispute the numbers, particularly in Utah County where over 82% are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and adhere to the practices of not drinking “strong drink” as referred to in the Word of Wisdom. And then there are those who just choose not to imbibe.

Utah County is the home to Brigham Young University, which has been known for years as the most “stone cold sober” university in the United States.

At any rate, cherrydigital’s survey came up with these tipsy tidbits:

“It was also found that nearly half (42%) Americans say they consider drinking at Christmas to be a family tradition. Additionally, a third (35%) say they gift booze to loved ones over the holidays,” the online survey said.

The survey continues, “Especially after the challenging year many of us have had, it may be easy to become caught up in the boozy festivities this holiday season. A quarter (24%) of respondents also admitted they often spike their morning joe with alcohol during the holidays.”

The survey also found that 16% of respondents say they are concerned about their loved ones’ drinking habits these holidays following the stress brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Being surrounded by loved ones who are indulging in drinking and celebrating may create a high-risk environment for people in recovery,” according to cherrydigital. “Combined with increased stress and anxiety levels due to the pandemic, this Christmas could be even more challenging for some.”

“Lockdown, social isolation, working from home ... this year has been a tough one for many of us. For some, what better way to lift our spirits than to ring in the holiday cheer by saying three cheers to the final days of 2020?” the survey suggests.

Sugar cookies, mulled wine, eggnog and spiced apple cider — many can already smell the mouth-watering Christmas aromas. Coupled with all the warm, hearty meals in between, it can be hard to resist a celebratory cocktail during the festive season, according to the survey.

Broken down across the country, those in Washington and Idaho drink for the longest string of time in a row — six days. Comparatively, people in Hawaii, Louisiana, New Hampshire and West Virginia seem to have a more sober season, drinking for just two days in a row over the holidays, without a break.

"This year has presented a great deal of challenges for many, and the idea of indulging in a holiday cocktail is something people are looking forward to,” said Theresa Dunaway, director of nursing at Oxford Treatment Center and spokesperson for Alcohol.org. “But safety must be kept in mind.”

Dunaway added, “There are more alcohol-related accidents during the holiday season than during any other time of the year, and due to the spread of the virus, newly implemented COVID-19 safety measures must be adhered to.” The holiday season is a time for enjoyment, but it must take place safely and responsibly.

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter @gpugmire

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